Muslim women at a market in old Delhi. (Source: PTI)

Activist Who Championed Instant Triple Talaq Ban Calls For Changes To Bill

Making triple talaq a cognizable offence may give rise to the vigilantism that followed the ban on beef consumption in several Indian states, fears women’s rights activist Zakia Soman.

The co-founder of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan has been at the forefront of the legal battle to ban instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat. Her organisation was one of the petitioners in the case which led the Supreme Court to deem the practice illegal.

But Soman has reservations on The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill that was passed in the Lok Sabha today. “Make it punishable by sending the man to jail but give the wife the right to complain,” said Soman.

Give that power to the wife. If you make triple talaq a cognizable offence, it will be like the the beef ban law. Vigilantes will have power to walk in and say triple talaq has happened here.
Zakia Soman, Co Founder, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan
Muslim women pray at the Jama
Masjid mosque in New Delhi. (Photographer: Keith Bedford/Bloomberg News) 
Muslim women pray at the Jama Masjid mosque in New Delhi. (Photographer: Keith Bedford/Bloomberg News) 

Welcoming the passage of the bill, Soman said it needs three key changes. Apart from making triple talaq a non-cognizable offence, she wants a clear procedure for divorce for Muslim men and women. “This procedure should be based on the talaq-e-ahsan method,” said Soman. This form of divorce advocates a process spread over 90 days that involves efforts towards reconciliation and mediation. She also called for the guarantee of support for aggrieved women.

If the triple talaq were to happen, then the women should be given shelter, support allowance and maintenance for children.
Zakia Soman, Co-Founder, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan